Serial Fiction: An Old Form Made New

Publishing Perspectives

Yesterday, my feature article for Publishing Perspectives went live:

Experimenting With Serials for Fun and Profit

Here’s a little excerpt:

Debate continues about whether the reader really prefers [serials] for long-form narratives. Shya Scanlon, a literary author who experimented with serialization in 2009 with The Forecast 42 Project says, “It would have been much better had I had the full print edition available during the serialization, so that people who wanted to read in full could do so. Though the feedback I received from readers during the serialization was positive, there was ambivalence about the reading process. It was either too slow or too quick for readers.”

On the other hand, Scanlon pointed out that the process of serialization, which spanned over 21 weeks, helped with buzz and in developing relationships with many editors and bloggers in his community. Ultimately, the process found him a publisher for the print book.

Go read the full article, which also discusses:

  • Why serial fiction is the A-game of writing
  • Selling serials vs. selling completed or compiled works
  • Companies experimenting with serials
  • Why you shouldn’t use serialization as a marketing gimmick

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Jane Friedman has 20 years of experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in digital media strategy for authors and publishers. From 2001–2010 she worked at Writer's Digest, where she ultimately became publisher; more recently, she was an editor at the Virginia Quarterly Review, where she led digital strategy. Jane currently teaches writing and publishing at the University of Virginia and is a columnist for Publishers Weekly. The Great Courses just released her 24-lecture series, How to Publish Your Book. She also has a book forthcoming from the University of Chicago Press, The Business of Being a Writer (2017). Jane speaks regularly at conferences and industry events such as BookExpo America, Digital Book World, and the AWP Conference, and has served on panels with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Creative Work Fund. Find out more.
Posted in Digital Media, E-Books, Getting Published, Marketing & Promotion and tagged , .


  1. Thank you so much for including me in your article! I’m impressed with the variety of ways you highlight this complex and growing field! Well done! 

    Thanks again Jane! :)

  2. I know of a number of authors who have used this approach to build a readership.  For some, it has been a successful approach to creating a market for their fiction.

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